For the Blue Waters Undergraduate Petascale Education Program
(NSF), we developed a computational science module, "Living
Links: Applications of Matrix Operations to Population Studies,"
which introduces matrix operations using applications to
population studies and provides accompanying programs in a
variety of systems (C/MPI, MATLAB, Mathematica). The
module provides a foundation for the use of matrix operations that
are essential to modeling numerous computational science
applications from population studies to social networks. This
paper describes the module; details experiences using the material
in two undergraduate courses (High Performance Computing and
Linear Algebra) in 2010 and 2011 at Wofford College and two
workshops for Ph.D. students at Monash University in Melbourne,
Australia, in 2011; and describes refinements to the module based
on suggestions in student and instructor evaluations.